BARRETT STARS FOR STRATFORD
Neighbours wallop Baltinglass
BALTINGLASS' Division 2 side showed little sign of life at home on Saturday evening as Stratford ran riot for the hour.
The superb free taking of James Barrett helped the visiting team to no end and he finished the game with a cool nine points. He could do no wrong from placed balls. Baltinglass only had eight shots in the entire game as Stratford moved into cruise control just after half time.
From the start though the visitors went ahead through a Nolan free and he doubled the lead in the fourth minute. Alan Norton added two more points for the same team and Nolan made his tally four points before finally Baltinglass got off the mark over half way through the first half from a Paudie Swinbourne free.
Stratford responded with two points, this time from Eoin O'Neill and Norton making it 0-8 to 0-1. Baltinglass enjoyed a bit more ball possession as the half drew to a close but had to rely on a Paudie Swinbourne free and a point from play and a stunner of a point from Adam Flemming to make them look in some way respectable on the scoreboard.
Barrett sent over another free for Stratford and just before half time Matt Manly took a long range free that flew straight into the top corner of the net to give Stratford a 1-9 to 0-4 half time lead. Baltinglass hadn't performed at all, but supporters may have been making allowances for a strong wind.
In truth though the conditions mattered little as Stratford won the second half 1-5 to 0-2 with the goal coming five minutes from time and it was a strike right out of the top drawer.
Matt Manly was given the ball with his side 1-14 to 0-5 up and while a point was definitely on the cards, what he decided to do, was not. A scintillating strike from the boot of a man with no lack of confidence flew into the top corner from 20m and there was an “Ooof” from the small crowd that appreciated the audacity of the shot.
Barrett frees kept Stratford ticking over in the second half and Baltinglass had good performers in Adam Flemming and Eoin Sweeney but otherwise were not at the races at all.
Shane Wall from Baltinglass and Alan Norton of Stratford compete in this Division 2 clash. Pic: Joe Byrne.